By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: September 2014
Frontier Gardens owners David and Linda Hickey with Farmers Market Coordinator Judy Prieto.
The Rose District Farmers Market in Broken Arrow is located on South Main Street. Farmers Market Coordinator Judy Prieto has done a remarkable job adding vendors to the event, open each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. The market includes a Kids Corner, live music, and a wide variety of food vendors. October 4 will be this year’s last Farmers Market date.
The Kids Corner is presented from 9 to 11 a.m. by local non-profit organizations. Vendors must abide by the guidelines of ODAFF (Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry). Contact Judy for guidelines or to receive a vendor application.
I recently visited the Rose District Farmers Market and selected three vendors to feature. The following is a short reflection of each and the products they bring to the market.
Frontier Gardens is owned by David and Linda Hickey of Broken Arrow. David is a walking pepper encyclopedia. He and Linda produce 17 varieties ranging from super hot to no heat. Cultivator Ed Currie’s “Carolina Reaper” currently holds the record for being the world’s hottest pepper. “They look like the tail of a scorpion and are fire-engine red with a punch of heat nearly as potent as police pepper sprays,” said David. To put it into perspective, the Reaper registers 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units, while police pepper spray is about 2 million. Jalapeños typically register about 5,000 units. A few of David and Linda’s peppers include the Thai, Jalapeño, Georgia Flame, Hot Portugal and Ghost. They also grow garlic and raise 30 varieties of tomatoes.
At the Natural Farms booth, I found Ethan Eakin, a contractor for owners Jeff and Chris Emmerson. The booth features a school bus transformed into “The Farminator,” which is loaded with quality free-range meats. Ethan raises free-range Italian Piedmontiese cattle, a breed that is naturally lean and tender. They are given no antibiotics and no hormones. He also raises vegetables and says, “My weed control is a hoe and a rake, and that’s what I do each week.” Concerning insect control, Ethan replied, “God has produced a natural balance between plants and insects where insects usually attack only diseased plants. That leaves the healthy vegetables for our consumption.” Ethan has an environmental sustainability degree from ORU.
Dana Prieto is a licensed Animal Nuisance Control Operator. Dana’s clients primarily raise free-range chickens, ducks and goats. “Coyotes, bobcats, raccoons and skunks don’t mix well with free-range enterprises,” he said. Dana is asked to trap predators when they are decimating farm animals. He also traps beavers for damage control. It greatly affects a farmer’s livelihood when livestock are killed by a wild animal. Farmers can easily lose 10 chickens or a few goats in one night to predators. Even when kept in barns, wild animals manage to get them. “Harvesting animals is a necessary link in the chain of life. While the animal must be taken, there is no waste. The whole animal is used for other purposes,” says Dana. “I only trap in winter, when predators are healthy and their furs are full.” Youngsters visiting Dana’s booth are amazed at how soft the furs are. In addition, Dana’s grandson, Noah, sells all-natural egg shell tub scrub and other products he and his mother make. A child may be a vendor if accompanied by an adult 18 or older and in compliance with the regulations. The Rose District Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
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Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.